Rutgers Hotline Has Helped 5,000 People Since May Launch

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey has one of the nation’s lowest suicide rates, and a New Jersey hotline launched by Rutgers University in May aims to keep it that way.

Rutgers was the backdrop of one of the nation’s more high-profile suicides in 2010 when Tyler Clementi, a gay freshman, jumped off the George Washington Bridge after he learned that two students recorded him on a webcam kissing another man.

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On World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, Clementi’s older brother, James, told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller that it’s important for people who are feeling depressed to understand they must ask for help, whether it’s from someone they know or a counselor on a hotline.

“People need to know their friends and their families and communities love them and value them, and there’s always a reason to keep going forward,” James Clementi said.

James Clementi said it took him a long time before he could imagine life without his brother.

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“I would say six months to a year really after Tyler passed away, I was in a place where time just had a different sense and everything really stopped,” he said.

Rutgers said its “NJ HopeLine” has fielded about 5,000 calls since it launched in May. The hotline, whose services are not limited to Rutgers students, can be reached at 855-654-6735.

About one million people attempt suicide nationwide every year, and about 40,000 succeed. New Jersey has seen its suicide rate jump from 296 in 1999 to 438 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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